Brown Promises Separation Savings
9/28/21 Trustee Meeting
by Irene Wrenner
October 1, 2021
Essex Junction Recreation and Parks (EJRP) Director Brad Luck presented a proposed City budget based on the current FY22 budget. Potential cost increases and savings are predicted to net a 7% decrease in taxes.
That decrease would translate to $195 on the average home valued at $300,000, “but not in year one,” said Trustee Raj Chawla. Although not part of the meeting packet, this information will soon be available at: www.essexjunction.org/independence
During the public hearing on the proposed City charter, Village resident Andy Suntup asked Village President Andrew Brown, “Are you close to 100% confident the taxes are going to go down that 7% you’re talking about, when we have to pay for new employees, a new computer system? You know, everything that we don’t have to pay 100% for as we share everything. Because if you’re not approaching 99% confidence, it just seems like you’ve all spent a lot of time working on this and it doesn’t make sense when [taxes are] the only thing people really do care about.”
Brown responded, “Yes, I am 100% confident, based upon the information that we have, that the taxes would go down by that amount.”
In other business:
The Trustees approved replacement of the Main Street Water Line between Densmore Drive and the water tank just off Turnberry Ridge. The estimated cost is $2,840,772. The debt service on the bond -- to be voted on in April -- is within already projected water rate increases according to Finance Director Sarah Macy. The Trustees authorized staff to begin planning and design phases.
All five Trustees approved the warning for the November Special Election on whether the Village should Separate per the drafted charter.
Luck presented multiple plans for a Lincoln Hall renovation developed by architect John Alden. Below is one of his blueprints. Capital funds needed are projected to be between $845,000 and $1.5 million, depending on which option is selected. The Village hopes to harness some ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds to help make this possible.
The Retorter later learned that it is unlikely such funds can be traded for Capital monies and used for this purpose.